NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –There was much talk after the All-Star break about R.A. Dickey’s quest for 20 wins.
But now it’s a new season, one Yankees veteran Andy Pettitte knows better than most. He’ll also have his eye on No. 20 — as in career postseason victories.
Already MLB’s all-time winningest playoff pitcher, the 40-year-old will go for that nice, round number Monday night in Baltimore, which would give New York a 2-0 lead against the Orioles in the best-of-five ALDS.
“We got to where we want to be, we’re in the position we wanted to be in,” said Pettitte, according to the Yankees’ official website. “This is what I was hoping to have the opportunity to do, and so that’s exciting for me, personally.”
Pettitte came out of retirement before this season, but had his comeback party put on hold when a batted ball fractured his left ankle in late June. It didn’t take him long to return to form, giving up only three earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched since being activated from the disabled list.
He finished 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 12 starts. Now he’ll look to add to an already impressive postseason resume.
“I feel good about it, I’m ready to go,” Pettitte said. “I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, I think the only thing I can say is I’m ready. I’m going to quit analyzing what I had at the end of the season.”
The Yankees took a 1-0 series lead Sunday night behind ace CC Sabathia and a tie-breaking home run from catcher Russell Martin in the ninth.
The Bombers hope to come home to the Bronx with three straight chances to close out Baltimore. Pettitte will be opposed by the Orioles’ Wei-Yin Chen, making his playoff debut at Camden Yards.
“It’s a whole new season now, a whole different ballgame,” said Pettitte. “I’m going to go out there and hopefully I can get in a good rhythm, get a good feel for my pitches, and that’s all I’m looking for.”
Of all the numbers, you can be sure Pettitte is focused on only one: championship ring No. 6.
Or, for the Yankees franchise, World Series title No. 28.
“I think if you look at my numbers in the postseason, if you have enough opportunities, I think you are what you are,” the left-hander said. “I’m a (beneficiary) of a lot of great teams with a lot of great players around here, having a whole lot of opportunities to do this, and you combine all that with, I feel like I have the ability to make pitches sometimes in some crucial situations, and you’re going to be fairly successful.”
As for pitching beyond 2012? It sounds like a real possibility.
“I know one thing,” said Pettitte, “I know the competition and the desire to compete is still there, and I don’t feel like I kind of got that itch out from the 70 innings or so that I threw this year. I was expecting to do a little bit more work than that. But we’ll see. We’ll see how this goes, and then I’ll factor everything probably in.”
Will Pettitte get the job done in Baltimore? Be heard in the comments below!